It was “business” as usual at the big pond, surrounded by lush greenery, a big oak tree providing some shade from the sunlight to a large part of the pond.

Some water lillies and other flowery plants were growing around the edges of the pond.

Fishes of many species were swimming swishing and swashing. Some were perfectly still until startled even by the littlest of change of the surrounding in the water; others rose to just below the surface of the water, while others dived to the bottom of the pond which was not very deep and then rushed up, almost vertically as though they were going to break the surface of the water.

The scene was serene.

Almost like clockwork, at 8.20am, punctual, as this was their time of arrival; a mother duck, together with her 5 ducklings would stroll by and waddle straight in the pond, the same spot everyday. It was like the mother duck was giving her ducklings some playtime. they would usually swim in the pond for two to three hours.

Also, like clockwork, at 9.17am, everyday; a squadron of birds would fly by, very high in the sky, near the edge of the sky. They would graciously glide in formation. At times, one or two of these majestic birds would break formation and dive with such ferocity towards the pond. By the angle of their dive, it would seem impossible to pull up.

Swoosh! They snatch fish from the pond with pinpoint accuracy, pull up and rejoin the formation of the other birds, up at the edge of the sky.

“Wow! Did you see that?”, asked Don duckling to the other ducklings?

“That was awesome!”, said Daffy duckling. The ducklings sure were impressed as they have always been, as this aerial display of swooping down and snatching swimming fish from the pond was an everyday affair.

Tom duckling said, “I wish I can do that. Fly high up at the edge of the sky, free and see the rest of the beautiful world from up there.” Then, Tom began to try to spread his wings to fly.

“Don’t even think of it!”, exclaimed Daisy duckling. “You’re a duckling just like us”.

“Yes. But you don’t look like us”, said Pee-kin duckling. “You are big and ugly. You can barely even swim, let alone swim gracefully like us!”

Tom duckling looked at the reflection of himself in the water. He thought he looked liked those birds high up in the sky and tried stretching out his wings and flap them.

All the other ducklings continued to make fun of him, at his ugliness because he did not look like any of them. And also, his dream to want to soar in the skies.


How many of us can relate to this story? You want to soar high up to the edge of the sky, freely, have a sense of pinpoint accuracy in all that you want to do?

Only to be told by others around you – your family, friends and work colleagues that you can’t. That is for the professionals.
“You’re one of us.
Don’t dream big.
You don’t want to have the headache of working to improve yourself everyday.
Life might seem glamourous, but it isn’t.”
“The grass may seem greener on the other side…til you get there.”

This was a motivational talk I used to give Laura ever so often during her swim career.
Dream big!
You can do anything you set your mind to.
The naysayers are those with no dreams, no goals, no ambitions and will always discaourage others. But encourage others to be the “no-ers”!

Laura would paste her goals all over the house at strategic places to remind herself. One special, prominent place was her wardrobe mirror. She would look in the mirror and at her written goals pasted at eye level and say, “You’ve got this!”


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